Boy's traumatic haircut prompts act of kindness from stranger, who didn't know he has autism

Photo: Jaime Fahs Nystuen/Facebook
Photo: Jaime Fahs Nystuen/Facebook 

As a parent, there are days it can feel like the whole world is against you.

From anti-child internet comments to supermarket glares and not feeling welcome anywhere with kids in tow, it sometimes feels like a cold and harsh place.

It's the kind of world that mum Jaime Fahs Nystuen is all too aware of as she navigates it with her four-year-old son, who has autism. Hair cuts are a very particular kind of trauma for many people with autism, with the stress manifesting in what can look like a temper tantrum to those seeing it from the outside.

US news announcer Frank Somerville (KTVU) reposted a story Jamie shared about the kindness she experienced from a stranger when her son got his haircut. Frank introduces the story saying, "Her son has autism. Going to the barber is not pretty. All of which makes the ending that much better."

Titled 'To the kind stranger who paid for my son's haircut today...' Jamie writes a touching letter to the person who made a harrowing experience that much more bearable with her understanding, even though she couldn't have known her son has autism.

Jamie begins the ode by expressing her appreciation for the gentle understanding shown by the stranger.

"You sat next to us and watched as my son screamed, cried and nearly vomited through the process of what most would consider a simple haircut.
You saw my husband and I struggle to hold him still and encourage and bribe him with a trip to the library.

You didn't scoff at the screaming or stare at us.

You kindly mentioned you'd been in our position just last week when your young twins got their haircuts..."


This solidarity was all the more surprising to Jamie because of the ferocity of her son's reaction, and the knowledge of how easy it would be to think he was just misbehaving.

"What you didn't know is that our son has autism and this haircut, like all the others, is a torturous experience every time.

Today's haircut was more upsetting than usual but autism is like knowing which way the wind will blow and any day could be the next tornado of a sensory overload meltdown..."

The kind person then went on to pay for the haircut, prompting Jamie to end the letter by saying, "Your gesture is truly the nicest thing anyone has ever done for us and I'll never forget your kindness."

The post has since attracted comments from more understanding parents, many who have experienced the stress of taking their child to the hairdresser, and know the difficulties having autism can bring to this task.

It just goes to show, kindness and compassion are absolutely transformative.